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Graphic Designers Win the Leadership Game

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Je Yeon Han, Manager, Index Partners; David Bromilow, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Design, University of Leeds


Although the concept of leadership is well developed and researched in the field of business management, it is a relatively recent field of study in the arena of design (Cassidy and Lee, 2007). The perception of design has been connected to delivering tangible products, packaging, and graphics and logos. Increasingly, however, many company directors have discovered that design is integral to their business and can redefine their strategy, increase recognition of their product range, reduce costs, or open up new markets. In addition, it has been recognized that design must be coordinated across major disciplines of a business such as marketing, production, finance, and distribution (Topalian, 2002). In order for designers to gain the most benefit from this change in perception, they need to develop leadership skills.This paper examines various approaches to leadership and assesses key skills and principles of design leadership through the review of published literature and primary interviews with people who occupy leadership positions in graphic design and communication agencies in the UK. Though informed by theory, the outcome of this research is intended to have a practical application within the graphic design community. To this end, we have developed a game that will help participants evaluate their leadership skills and knowledge and identify training courses that would help them mature as effective leaders.




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